I bake just about every day. Others bake only on occasion, usually for birthdays or holidays, and there are a lot of cookbooks dedicated to providing recipes specifically for these special occasions. Special occasions need special recipes, right? Flo Braker’s newest cookbook, Baking for All Occasions aims to open the eyes of bakers everywhere to the fact that all occasions can be special and you don’t need to wait for Christmas to roll around to heat up the oven. Her special occasions include rainy days, days when you find perfect produce at the Farmer’s Market, and “just because” days when you want to make someone smile. It’s a cute concept, and one that I already know I subscribe to.
Braker is excellent at explaining the basics of baking and takes her time at the beginning of this book, discussing common baking rules and techniques, and the reasons behind them, as well as describing the properties of various common ingredients and standard baking equipment. Her tone is conversational and it’s very easy to get an understanding of how baking works even if you’re a complete beginner. The recipes, too, are written in a similar style that is easy to follow along with. That said, the recipes cover a wide range of baked goods and flavor combinations, so while beginners will find plenty of good jumping off places with simple cakes and cookies, more experienced bakers won’t get bored with more complex yeasted pastries.
There are plenty of lovely photos in the book, but not all of the 200+ recipes are illustrated. One of the features of the book that I really like is a simple one: the indices. There is one general index, but there is a separate index that lists all the recipes by category. This is a pretty useful tool when looking for recipe ideas because, since the book is not already sorted on category lines, it can be hard to track down the exact recipe you want if you know you want to make a tart.